With the advent of the 10 km marathon swim as an Olympic event in 2008, the 25 km marathon took a hit. For the worse.

While the world’s fastest open water swimmers focused on the 10 km, the number of the fast swimmer tackling the longer 25 km races fell. That era is over.

Judging from the blistering fast women entered in next week’s 25 km race at the FINA World Championships, the race in Barcelona is going to be fast. Very, very fast.

With swimmers like world champions Angela Maurer and Ana Marcela Cunha competing against Olympians like Olga Beresnyeva, this race will be about 330 minutes of non-stop action. Throw in a pair of highly skilled Americans (Eva Fabian and Christine Jennings) and a few experienced Europeans (Italian Alice Franco and Czech Silvie Rybářová), then the race takes on a whole different level of competitiveness.

The race will demand over 5 hours of physical intensity and mental focus unlike few races ever held. The winner will be more likely defined as a survivor. The difference between victory and not may be which competitor makes the fewest tactical errors during the tight pack in the Mediterranean Sea. Under the water and on every stroke throughout the 25 km, these rivals will be eyeing each other like a hungry shark nearly a bloody carcass. They know each other so well that they will react to surges like a water polo player given a cheap shot: fast and with a vengeance. The women will be more fearless than a high diver and will be constantly thinking ahead like a chess master.

While each of these competitors has more than a decent shot of winning, the schedule may favor Yale University student Eva Fabian. While Maurer (2009) and Cunha (2011) have won the last two world 25 km championships and will undoubtedly play a major factor in the race, they will be swimming other hard races before the 25 km. This is the similar situation with Beresnyeva and Rybářová, who will also represent their countries in the 10 km races.

Over a long week of highly competitive racing, this gives a slight edge to the violin-playing Yalie. Her tank will be full and her heart is that of a lioness. At the very end of the race, this gives her a golden advantage. But, of course, when the going gets tough, all of these rivals get going.

Her Yale University coach Jim Henry observes, “Eva has done an excellent job preparing herself in the pool and in her mind for next Saturday’s World Championship race. I believe she has the experience and the training to be the first female American in many years to medal in the 25K distance. Eva’s biggest strength will be her mental toughness and the ability to enjoy the competition regardless of the conditions.”

If you enjoy watching long tactical endurance races, there will be no more exciting race in Barcelona than the women’s 25 km competition. The list of competitors include the following:

1. Julia Lucila Arino (ARGENTINA)
2. Celia Barrot (FRANCE)
3. Olga Beresnyeva (UKRAINE)
4. Ana Marcela Cunha (BRAZIL)
4. Yang Dandan (CHINA)
5. Margarita Dominguez Cabezas (SPAIN)
6. Eva Fabian (UNITED STATES)
7. Alice Franco (ITALY)
8. Wasela Hussien (EGYPT)
9. Christine Jennings (UNITED STATES)
10. Yumi Kida (JAPAN)
11. Fabiana Lamberti (ITALY)
12. Angela Maurer (GERMANY)
13. Vicenia Navarro (VENEZUELA)
14. Paola Perez (VENEZUELA)
15. Barbora Picková (CZECH REPUBLIC)
16. Xeniya Romanchuk (KAZAKHSTAN)
17. Silvie Rybářová (CZECH REPUBLIC)
18. Lei Shan (CHINA)
19. Alexandra Sokolova (RUSSIA)
20. Nadine Williams (CANADA)
21. Svenja Theresa Zihsler (GERMANY)

1. Guillermo Bertola (ARGENTINA)
2. Luis Bolanos (VENEZUELA)
3. Martin Miguel Carrizo Yunges (ARGENTINA)
4. Badr Chebchoub (TUNISIA)
5. Igor Chervynskiy (UKRAINE)
6. Allan Do Carmo (BRAZIL)
7. Evgeni Drattcev (RUSSIA)
8. Vladimir Dyatchin (RUSSIA)
9. Simone Ercoli (ITALY)
10. Abdelrahman Esam (EGYPT)
11. Antonios Fokaidis (GREECE)
12. Spyridon Gianniotis (GREECE)
13. Philippe Guertin (CANADA)
14. Gergely Gyurta (HUNGARY)
15. Weng Jingwei (CHINA)
16. Vitaliy Khudyakov (KAZAKHSTAN)
17. Arseniy Lavrentyev (PORTUGAL)
18. Han Lidu (CHINA)
19. Thomas Lurz (GERMANY)
20. Rhys Mainstone-Hodson (AUSTRALIA)
21. Erwin Maldonado (VENEZUELA)
22. Alex Meyer (UNITED STATES)
23. Saleh Mohammad (SYRIA)
24. Jan Pošmourný (CZECH REPUBLIC)
25. Hercules Troyden Prinsloo (SOUTH AFRICA)
26. Christian Reichert (GERMANY)
27. Shahar Resman (ISRAEL)
28. Axel Reymond (FRANCE)
29. Simone Ruffini (ITALY)
30. Phillip Ryan (NEW ZEALAND)
31. Brian Ryckeman (BELGIUM)
32. Libor Smolka (CZECH REPUBLIC)
33. Igor Snitko (UKRAINE)
34. Bertrand Venturi (FRANCE)
35. Diogo Villarinho (BRAZIL)
36. Richard Weinberger (CANADA)
37. Jordan Wilimovsky (USA)

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